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Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Resurrection Account: Two Millenia of April Fools

Today, in honor of Palm Sunday, I thought I would take another look at the Gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus. As you may be aware, I published my response to Dan Barker's perennial challenge on this subject last year at GTA, but that original version was done using the New American Standard translation of the Gospels, and I wanted to revise my harmonization using the more textually rigorous New Jerusalem translation.

What I found was basically the same thing- the narrative backwardness of John makes his weeping Mary of Magdala completely nonsensical given the context of the Synoptics. In addition, I don't think any translation is going to make sense of the reported emotional state of the women between Mark and Matthew's versions of the story.

This might actually be more interesting not just as a contrast between different translations, but between two different times in my life. I wrote the original harmonization in 2005, although I published it here in 2006. My understanding of the texts was likely a bit more immature than it is now, although you can judge for yourself if there are any qualitative differences between the two.

My original harmonization can be found here. The 2007 revision can be found here.

I would encourage any and all Christians to spend some time this week constructing their own harmonization. It's not easy to do, but I think it's well worth the effort- especially since the historical merit of the narratives together are crucial for the big Easter holiday coming up next week.

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